Queen of the Distracted

Imagine life in a house with 6 kids - now imagine if 5 of those kids and their father have ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - that is our house! Welcome to an inside view of my life and our home dominated by ADHD... THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!"

Those were our oldest daughter Rachel's first words, from the time she was a toddler she would belt them out proudly standing on the arm of the couch. At the time we had no idea what ADHD was or that it would play such a central roll in our lives.

Since then we have learned a lot, not the least of which is how many individuals and families suffer in silence. We have experienced first hand how misunderstood and misrepresented a disorder can be.

As a family we decided to take action - to risk embarrassment and labeling to get this important message out to the world. Come join our family, share in our lives, and see ADD/ADHD as we see it...
A gift with a heavy price tag.

WELCOME to life in the ADD/ADHD House!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sometimes We're Sane...Sometimes We're Not

There are few things that I hate more than dealing with cars.  One, I hate spending money and cars have a tendency to make me bleed money.  Two, I know little about them.  I know where to put in the gas.  I know where to check the oil and to put oil in but I rarely do it until the car will no longer stay on.   It is a matter of principle, an in your face to my birth father who not only owns and operates his own auto repair shop, comes from a  genetically long line of mechanics (talking generations here)but
also has a great deal of clout in his industry.  I know…I know I am only hurting myself and my pocket book but it doesn’t matter – I can not help it.

So imagine how much I loved my last week which was a barrage of broken brakes (both cars) and calipers and tires.  I think I need a therapist just to get me over the hump. So yesterday when the battery started acting up I truly decided to ignore it.  After all what is the worst that can happen?  Let me tell you, the window can get stuck down in the Central Valley’s near Noah experience.  Point being denial doesn’t work…it just gets Hannah wet. 

Normally this is car thing would fall in Mark’s lap, good dedicated husband, who knows that car repair is synonymous with deep seeded adoption issues rearing their ugly heads.  Mark has spent the last, well over a year, pursuing and living a life long dream of making movies and at the moment is neck deep in his day job and post production for Finding Hope Now the movie.  Someday it will be Queen of the Distracted he works on and his own projects.  Oh to have his brilliantly creative, visual, driven mind but someone has to keep his feet near the Earth and that someone is me.

What this means is I have to deal with a lot of the slack…I have to get brakes and calipers and tires.  Silly me, I didn’t know that being all the same brand or type mattered – I thought it was like a vanity thing.  Why do I care if the tires match, they are just tires? Luckily we were visiting said husband when the battery would not start and he worked his magic on it, the window came up and Hannah was not drowned by the flood of 2010.

Hannah is our non-ADHD daughter (14), my voice of reason in an otherwise unreasonable house and Thursday my partner. She went with to my Rheumatologist and I took her took to get checked out for similar symptoms to mine.  We had been joking with her doctor about how Hannah seemed the most like me. Hannah missed the very prevalent ADHD gene that sprung forth from my husband and snagged 5 of the 6 kids. Her doctor, our family doctor, asked us how we do it, how we stay sane in ALL the insanity, all the ADHD.  That was a pretty fair question, I thought, though I really couldn’t come up with a reasonable response except...

Sometimes we’re sane and sometimes… WE ARE NOT.” 

After we left though I could not help but think about how I stay ‘sane’; most of the time I actually enjoy the pace and energy of our house.  Most of the time I just roll with it or let it wash over me rather than fight it; I try and use it to get us where we need to go or to get done what we need accomplished. 

Today, however, I thought about it as I was driving, running errand after errand. As I was heading home, an hour drive – exhausted, too exhausted to drive.   I thought about it when I realized that all the chores that were supposed to be done weren’t.  The volume in the house kept rising getting louder and louder; dancing, singing, laughing, joking, talking, as I cried chores, chores, cores.

I thought about it as I was wishing Mark were home to help regulate and communicate with everyone, he speaks their native language you know.  To fix it like the battery, wiggle the cable and make it work.

I thought about it as I said for the thousandth time, please quiet down.  Please don’t scream. Don’t sing at the top of you lungs, right at this moment don’t get everyone else singing – I do not need a choir.  Don’t argue and talk over one another.  Don’t even squeal with excitement, don’t laugh. 

I was not feeling sane, just overwhelmed, over stimulated. 

I have learned over the years to try and stay calm.  I can not always do it but I have learned that if I stay calm that I get farther.  If I freak out on my kids they freak out on me.  If I loose my calm then they know that if they push hard enough they can get what they want. 

What appears to be extreme patience is really self preservation, staying stubborn in the pursuit of what I need them to do.

Sometimes I have to disconnect a little, to keep that bigger picture and stay calm. Get their attention one person at a time.  Lay out what I expect and what the consequences will be if they don’t reel it back in to acceptable levels. 

Later I take time to recuperate, engage in my guilty pleasure, I good crime show, read, blog, Facebook.  I think one of the hardest parts about raising a child with unique needs is that it comes at the extreme sacrifice or your own needs so much of the time.  I have said in the past that I do not have time to have issues; I am too busy dealing with everyone else’s issues.  In reality though I choose to set my issues on the back burner and take my moments when I can.  Their issues demand more attention.

So I sat listening to the rain, fielding the occasional queries about roof safety and likelihood of floating off the mountain, obsessive lightening/fire worries wishing my husband was not in Fresno at his studio, knowing it will not be forever and trying to breathe deeply.


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